Israel targets Gaza officials coordinating aid, plans to seize aid distribution

Israel targets Gaza officials coordinating aid, plans to seize aid distribution
Arab and Israeli officials said Israel is looking to enlist non-Hamas Palestinian leaders and businessmen to collaborate in the new administration.
3 min read
21 March, 2024
The entire Gaza population is suffering from food shortages [Getty]

Israel is planning to seize control of aid distribution in Gaza through the establishment of a non-Hamas administration in the Palestinian territory, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

Arab and Israeli officials told the US daily that Israel is looking to enlist non-Hamas Palestinian leaders and businessmen to collaborate in the project. 

Israel has also sought to shore up support for the plan by sending a top defence official for talks with Egypt, the UAE and Jordan.

The New Arab reported earlier this month that Israel is seeking the collaboration of key clan members in Gaza — a reincarnation of the failed Village Leagues experiment of the 1980s.

Under the current plan, aid would enter Gaza after Israeli inspection, then be sent to warehouses headed by Palestinians for distribution.

The Palestinians charged by Israel with giving out the aid would later assume authority over the strip once the war is over, with funding from Arab governments, the WSJ sources said.

But the plan is facing opposition from both sides, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu having already expressed opposition to allowing the Palestinian Authority, or Fatah-affiliated Palestinians, to take control of Gaza.

Hamas has also strongly rejected the plan, warning Palestinians earlier this month against collaboration with Israel.

“Accepting communication with the occupation forces by heads of families and tribes for work in the Gaza Strip is considered national betrayal, which we will not allow,” a Hamas security official said in a 10 March statement.

The warnings appear to have had effect, with key families once thought to be interested in the Israeli plan now having withdrawn their support, according to the WSJ.

Israel has been accused of using starvation as a weapon of war Gaza, which the UN warned just days ago is imminently facing famine.

It has also been accused of "systematically" blocking humanitarian aid into Gaza despite an order from the UN's top court to ensure aid gets into the Palestinian territory. At the same time, Israeli protesters have blocked border crossings with Gaza to prevent essential supplies like food, fuel, water, and medicine from reaching Palestinians.

In Gaza, Israeli forces have opened fire at starving Palestinians queuing for aid. In one incident in late February now dubbed the 'Flour Massacre', Israeli forces killed over 118 Palestinians waiting for aid and injured 760 others.

In recent days, Israel has targeted Palestinian security officials involved in securing aid deliveries into Gaza.

On Monday, Israeli forces killed Gaza police chief  Brigadier General Fayeq al-Mabhouh during a raid on Gaza's City's Al-Shifa Hospital.

A statement from Gaza's government media office said al-Mabhouh oversaw the entry of aid and coordinated with Palestinian tribes and the UN's Palestinian refugees agency (UNRWA) in northern Gaza.

The killing of Mabhouh and others has raised accusations that Israel is attempting to plunge Gaza into further lawlessness and disrupt aid delivery.

"This crime shows that Israel is seeking to spread chaos in Gaza and prevent the arrival of humanitarian aid to hundreds of thousands of hungry people in northern Gaza," the media office statement said.